What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 1999

(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

After the return of Pixar turned out to be a bit of a disappointment at the 71st Academy Awards, eyes turned to 1999, and the hotly anticipated Toy Story 2.  When it was announced that the original cast would be returning for the sequel, people immediately began speculating that the Oscars might see a rematch of the most exciting duel that the category saw.  No one could forget the competition between Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, and the possibility that both might score nominations drove all other predictions to the sidelines.

1999 – Nominees for Best Voice Performance in a Motion Picture:

  • Joan Cusack (Jessie) – Toy Story 2
  • Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant) – The Iron Giant
  • Tom Hanks (Woody) – Toy Story 2
  • Trey Parker (Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, etc) – South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
  • Matt Stone (Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, etc) – South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

There was a fair amount of disappointment that Tim Allen did not get a repeat nomination for voice Buzz Lightyear, but most agreed that his role in Toy Story 2 was secondary to that of Woody and Jessie.  Parker and Stone’s nominations were a bit of a surprise, though the film was more of a critical and commercial success than anyone could have anticipated, even garnering an Oscar nomination for Original Song.  As for Vin Diesel, as much as critics may have loved The Iron Giant, it was such a box office failure that the fact that it received a nomination was considered by the masses to be just another example of the Academy choosing “artsy” movies over critical successes.  Many thought that Diesel stole Tim Allen’s slot among the nominees, and Allen’s absence was felt to be a sure sign that the Oscar would be going to Hanks, the only repeat nominee in the category.


Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant) – The Iron Giant

Vin Diesel’s win would go down as one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history.  Not only was The Iron Giant largely ignored by audiences, Vin Diesel had few lines in the film.  The general feeling was that his win was more intended to award the writing and directing of the film than the actual performance.  Tom Hanks was gracious after the ceremony, as always, but it seemed that even he was a bit disappointed by the outcome.  Over the years, The Iron Giant would gain considerably more attention, first as a cult film and then as a film worthy of consideration among the animated greats, but at the time it was hard for anyone to see it that way.  What no one anticipated was that a year later, all of the talk would center around another film considered a disappointment.

What do you think?  Who would have won from 1999?  Should anyone from Tarzan have been nominated?  Does anyone remember the horrible animated version of The King and I from that year?  Did you see The Iron Giant when it was first in theaters?  (I didn’t.)  Who do you think will be nominated from the next year?  Will Hanks ever win a Best Voice Performance Oscar?  Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 1999

  1. Pingback: What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 2000 | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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